Relatively little is known about how different activities of openness contribute to the degree of novelty of SMEs. Recently, several studies have been published that attempted to fill this gap by studying the effects of either inbound or outbound open activities on the innovativeness of firms. This paper adds to this literature by taking in to account both dimensions. Building on a sample of 615 manufacturing SMEs, the findings of this empirical article based on the open innovation model indicate that there are significant differences between the effects of inbound and outbound open activities on the degree of novelty of SMEs. Inbound activities, specially the national and international proximities openness of SMEs to their business networks are relevant to explain their degree of novelty of innovation. Furthermore, the findings strongly support the idea that international openness is useful to the degree of novelty of innovations for SMEs. This research provides insights which are used to derive practical implications for SMEs’‘ entrepreneurs and managers, and also for policy-makers.
Open innovation, SMEs, Geographical proximity, Degree of novelty